This petition seeks the restoration of open carry rights in Arkansas.
We hold that any citizen who may lawfully own a handgun should be restored their right to carry that holstered handgun openly in public, throughout the State of Arkansas, except for those few unique places where the Legislature has decided to ban gun carry generally.
The following facts are not in dispute:
1. Arkansas is one of only 8 states banning open carry. Many states do not even require a license to open carry.
2. Self-defense is a basic human right and the handgun is the quintessential
self-defense weapon. District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. ___, ___, slip op. at 57 (2008).
3. The Constitution of the United States, and presumably that of Arkansas, guarantees the right of individuals to carry arms, Id. at 10, but not to carry concealed arms. Id. at 54. Therefore, it does not take a law degree to figure out that only open carry is constitutionally protected.
4. Criminals are not deterred by rules, regulations, or statutes forbidding the possession of weapons. A man bent on mass murder will not be stopped by a law forbidding him to have a gun, but a law abiding citizen will be deterred from carrying a gun which might save lives.
5. It is well known that the requirement to conceal a normal sized handgun can be difficult, especially in Arkansas with our extreme heat and humidity, since a person will usually have to wear a jacket to properly conceal a handgun and to avoid "printing.
6. Under some circumstances, the requirement to conceal a handgun can make it difficult to draw the weapon should the life of the carrier or the life of someone else be in danger.
7. Open carry has and will deter crime, as well as providing a valuable option even for citizens who prefer to normally carry concealed.
8. A recent FBI study concludes that criminals do not open carry handguns and eschew holsters because they do not want to draw attention to themselves. Anthony Pinizzotto, et al., Violent Encounters: A Study of Felonious Assaults on Our Nation's Law Enforcement Officers, FBI (2006) (finding that violent criminals carefully "conceal" their guns and "eschew holsters"), summary available at http://www.forcesciencenews.com/home/detail.html?serial=62.
For the foregoing reasons, we residents of the State of Arkansas affirm and assert that all citizens who may lawfully own a handgun be allowed to carry that holstered handgun openly in public throughout the State of Arkansas except for those specific places where the Legislature has decided to ban gun carry generally.